Notes on the Accusys ACS 7500/75130 RAID box

Introduction

The Accusys 7500 is a very nice IDE mirroring solution. Unlike more common IDE mirroring (RAID1) solutions, this is a real hardware RAID system, taking two conventional IDE drives and making them appear as a single IDE drive to software. This means the ACS 7500 is completely invisible to software. In fact, the system comes with NO software at all -- no drivers, nothing (actually, this has changed recently -- the things no longer come with a printed manual (boo) but now include software that can "manage" (or more accurately, monitor) the array). None are needed. Most operating systems and computers that can support standard IDE drives can use this box. In fact, if you simply apply power to the box, it is capable of being used as a stand-alone disk duplication system, no computer or operating system required.

Design and Operation Notes

Management software

As of October, 2005 (probably earlier), Accusys was shipping "management" and monitoring software with most of their products. While the information conveyed by this program is potentially useful (such as monitoring a machine in a remote office or data center), the application leaves a lot to be desired. Installed as intended for local monitoring, it requires the installation of a web server, Java and the use of a web browser. Sorry, based on the history of Microsoft's web server, I refuse to load it on a machine it does not need to be loaded on.

Further, my success with the SATA devices has been very poor -- the Accusys software could not detect an IDE interface to talk to the drive, my guess is that is due to hardware specific SATA drivers obscuring the interface to the application. However, they may also be aware of this problem. Curiously, the SATA versions of this application include the serial cable. Unfortunately, the machines I really wanted to put this in had other needs for their only serial port, so this also proved to be a problem.

I have some reason to believe it may be possible to monitor this device in other ways, other than the web browser and webserver.

Getting the Accusys products

I understand that in many parts of the world, it is very easy to get Accusys products. However in the US, it seems to be a challenge, especially for "business friendly" dealers. I now work for a company which does not have a company credit card, which made it difficult to actually use these things in a business environment (and face it: even at $250, not a lot of home users will be using these things).

However, with a bit of persuasion (and a demonstration), one of my company's primary product suppliers got themselves set up as an Accusys distributor. They are Capricorn Diversified Systems. Good people. Note: they are much more a "real people" business than a "web store", so don't spend a lot of time looking for a web-form to order from. Pick up phone, call. Really simple, and a human answers at the other end usually!

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(C)opyright  2004, Nick Holland, Holland Consulting

Published: 04/06/2004
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